I had wanted to post about this for Valentine's Day, but it didn't work out. No matter - any time's a good time to spread a little love!
This is the cover of Naiad Einsel's book, which she was working on when I first interviewed her in 2006. "Walter and I loved Valentine's Day," said Naiad. "It was a big day for us. We loved it more than Christmas. We loved it more than birthdays."
Just before Christmas last year, I was delighted to discover Naiad had completed her book (it can be ordered at this link) which collects the hand-made valentines she and husband Walter exchanged annually during all the years of their life together. When they were a young couple living in a one-room apartment in Manhattan, they would put a dividing screen in the middle of the room while they worked on their valentines.
While Naiad always created artworks on paper for Walter (like the beautiful design above) Walter's valentines for Naiad began to take on an added dimension.
"Each year these efforts became more complex," said Naiad. "What started out as collages with old decorations and rubber stamps incorporated into the design, evolved around 1960 into elaborate 3-dimensional sculptures carved in wood, with internal whirling disks and moving parts."
This remarkable little book (it measures just 9" square) is a wonderful document of a lifetime of creativity by two tremendously talented artists. It's also a very personal window on a life-long passionate love affair. Naiad has given us permission to share in that intimate relationship through her and Walter's words, pictures and sculptures. If you're like me, you will close this book feeling genuinely touched by the experience.
Walter Einsel passed away in 1999 but happily, Naiad is still going strong at age 86.
Nolan Pelletier, an illustrator who visited Naiad last year sent me a note saying, "Naiad's doing really well! She's an amazing person. I'll be visiting again in a few weeks, and will hopefully get to see her collection of clippings of Jerome Snyder, Joseph Low, and other great illustrators' work. [Her home is] an amazing museum of her and Walter's work. Every inch of space is carefully curated, full of beautiful things, and all kept meticulously clean. It's heaven."
If you're interested in ordering your own copy of Naiad Einsel's Art from the Heart, you can do so at this link.
*Art from the Heart is © 2008, 2013 Naiad Einsel